My dog always seems to have fleas.
What can I do?
Successful flea control involves:
Eliminating fleas from your dog
Controlling fleas in the environment
and cats share the same fleas. It is important that all pets in your
home are on a flea preventive. Treating your pet for fleas has never
been easier. With the many choices we have today, we can provide you
with the safest and most effective flea preventive for your petís
it comes to environmental control, we must first understand the flea
are four stages in the life cycle of the flea:
are whitish and about 0.5 mm (1/32Ē) in length. They are unlikely to
be seen without a magnifying glass. Eggs are laid by the adult flea
after taking a blood meal. The eggs are initially laid on the dogís
skin but fall off into the environment to continue their life cycle.
Flea eggs constitute approximately 50% of the total flea population.
Eggs may hatch in as little as 14 to 28 days, depending on
environmental conditions. High humidity and temperature favor rapid
are about 2-5 mm (1/8 to ľĒ) in length. They feed on organic debris
found in their environment and on adult flea feces. They dislike
strong light and move deep into carpet fibers or under furniture,
organic debris, grass, branches, leaves, soil, etc. Flea larvae
prefer warm, dark and moist areas. Outdoor larval development occurs
only in shaded, moist areas where flea infested pets spend a
significant amount of time. Our climate-controlled homes offer an
ideal environment for the flea life cycle to thrive.
The flea pupae produce a protective silk-like
cocoon which is sticky. It quickly becomes coated with grime and
debris, which acts as a useful camouflage. With warmth and humidity,
pupae become adult fleas in 5-10 days. The adults do not emerge from
the cocoon unless stimulated by physical pressure, carbon dioxide or
heat. This is important since once fleas emerge from the cocoon they
can only exist for a few days unless they are able to feed.
Pre-emerged adult fleas can survive within the cocoon for up to 9
months. During this time they are resistant to insecticides applied
to the environment. This is important to remember because adult
fleas may emerge into the environment a considerable time after you
apply insecticides in your home.
Once emerged the flea adult, unlike the larvae, is
attracted to light and emerges to the surface in order to encounter
a passing host to feed upon. Two days after the first blood meal,
female fleas begin egg production. In normal circumstances the adult
female will live up to three weeks, laying approximately 40 eggs per
day. The entire life cycle, from egg to adult flea can be completed
in 14-28 days depending on environmental conditions.
Apart from irritation, are
fleas particularly harmful?
can cause anemia, especially in young or debilitated dogs. A single
female flea can take up to 15 times her body weight in blood over
the several weeks of her adult life. In addition, fleas can carry
several diseases and also act as vectors to spread one of the most
common tapeworms of the dog and cat, Diplylidium caninum.
How do I prevent fleas on my
Successful flea control includes treating both the environment as
well as your pet.
What shall I put on my dog?
Shampoos, sprays, powders and spot-on preparations are all
available. Be sure to consult your veterinarian to choose the most
effective and safe flea products for your home and pet.
What about the environment?
Environmental preparations are becoming increasingly sophisticated.
Remember that most products are only effective against the adult
flea. Your veterinarian can provide you with flea products that
contain Insect Growth Regulators (IGRís) that will help destroy the
flea eggs and larvae. Before applying any environmental product, we
recommend vacuuming your carpet to stimulate the pre-adult fleas to
emerge from their protective cocoons. Be sure to discard the vacuum
cleaner bag after its use.
My dog lives most of his life
outside. What should I do?
Concentrate on dark, shaded areas. Spray a product containing an IGR
and repeat every 14-21 days for three to five applications.
newer topical and oral flea preventives will greatly assist you in
solving your flea problem. With persistence and patience, you and
your pet will be flea-free in no time!